De La Rue announces financial results

According to a press release dated 26 November 2019, security printer De La Rue announced its half year results for the six months ending 28 September 2019.

Clive Vacher, Chief Executive Officer of De La Rue, said:
“The business has experienced an unprecedented period of change with the Chairman, CEO, senior independent director and most of the executive team leaving or resigning in the period. This has led to inconsistency in both quality and speed of execution. The new Board is working to stabilise the management team, which we believe will take some time.
“At the same time, we have seen significant changes since the start of the year in the market for Currency, including pricing pressure as a result of reduced overspill demand. This has had a material impact on volumes and profitability in H1 2019/20 and it will also take time for the currency market to normalise. Our Authentication business continues to show good growth and provides some degree of balance to the Currency headwinds, while demand for polymer substrate is also exceeding our expectations.
“In response, we are reviewing our cost base and will make the structural changes that will further strengthen our competitiveness in a challenging market. We continue to focus on building momentum in the higher-margin security feature market and continue to innovate to improve our position in this fast-growing area.
“Between now and the end of calendar Q1 2020, we will complete a full review of the business and design a comprehensive turnaround plan for the Company. In the meantime, we have already identified and started to implement the urgent actions needed to stabilise the business and allow us to complete the review. With strong emphasis on cost control and cash management, coupled with a focus on innovation and reversing the revenue decline, we will become a leaner, more efficient Company and drive shareholder value.”

SCWPM publisher F+W Media files for bankruptcy

According to a Coin World article dated 15 March 2019, “The firm F + W media, a major periodical and book publisher whose titles include Numismatic News, Bank Note Reporter, and the seminal references Standard Catalog of World Coins and Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reconcile $105.2 million in outstanding debt. In its March 10 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington, F + W Media cites just $2.5 million in cash on hand. The company plans to remain in operation while it plans liquidation of its holdings.”

According to Amazon, the 25th edition of the SCWPM will be released on 2 April 2019, but F + W is hoping to sell its magazine and book divisions in their entirety, not individual titles, so the future of the SCWPM is uncertain at this point.

Rest assured, we remain committed to making The Banknote Book the best possible reference for our hobby. If you are not already a subscriber, please show your support by subscribing today.

Archives International to hold 50th Milestone Auction on 3 December 2018


Contact: Dr. Robert Schwartz
(201) 944-4800


The auction will be held by Archives International Auctions, in NYC and their offices in Fort Lee, N.J.

FORT LEE, N.J. – Archives International Auction’s December “50th Milestone Auction” scheduled for Monday and Tuesday December 3rd & 4th, consists of over 1150 lots of rare and desirable banknotes, scripophily, Presidential autographs and historic Ephemera. Featured will be an extensive collection of Chinese banknote rarities, U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily, Security Printing Ephemera and a U.S. Presidential Autograph collection as well as hundreds of other desirable banknotes, bonds and shares and historic ephemera.

“The worldwide banknote market has been exceptionally strong this past year with dozens of price records being set every sale. We do our best to cater to every level of collector and dealer and look forward to celebrating our 50th Milestone Auction with the collecting community with another exciting offering that includes hundreds of worldwide banknotes, scripophily and historic autographs,” said Dr. Robert Schwartz, president of Archives International Auctions.

The first and second sessions scheduled on December 3rd to take place at the Collectors Club in New York City begins with U.S. & Worldwide Scripophily with many highlights from the John E. Herzog Collection including major rarities such as the impressive Spanish, Real Compania de San Fernando de Seville, 1740's Share Certificate; 2 different 1917, Dominion of Canada War Loan Specimen bond rarities as well as many 18th and 19th century rarities. Modern Scripophily is represented by numerous stocks such as Apple Computer,, NYSE Group, Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Specimens. Additional Highlights include a 1778 Danish West Indies Bond; 2 different Nathan Rothschild Russian Bonds; an 1845 Michigan, Mackinac and Lake Superior Copper Co. Stock Certificate and hundreds of additional desirable Bonds and shares emphasizing railroads, mining and modern bonds and shares offered over the 2-day auction.

Security Printing Ephemera is highlighted by a spectacular 1866 British American Bank Note Company, Engravers & Printers, Proof Advertising Sheet Rarity, dozens of spectacular early advertising notes from ABN, BW&C as well a pioneer polymer Tyvek and DuraNote banknote rarities and numerous other desirable items. We are also privileged to offer a historic group of Presidential signed documents including an Abraham Lincoln signed Military Appointment of N. J. Sappington, later assigned to Elmira Prison to feed captured Confederates, as Commissary of Subsistence of Volunteers; 2 different James Madison signed documents and numerous other Presidential signed documents from an old estate collection that has been off the market for over 30 years.
U.S. banknote highlights begin with impressive obsolete banknotes including a dramatic 1850-60s Continental Bank $3 Obsolete with the well-known Polar Bear attacking men in boat image as well as dozens of rare and attractive obsoletes, both issued and proofs; National banknotes are highlighted by an extremely rare Uncut Pair of 1875, $10-$20, Charter #2382, The Central National Bank of Washington City, with this being the only known uncut pair of notes from this bank; an Alaska, First National Bank of Fairbanks, 1902, $5, Plain Back rarity; a German National Bank of Memphis, 1866 Proof $5 Banknote Rarity; an Oilfields National Bank in Brea, CA, $5 Ty.2 in CU 64; a First National Bank in Reno, $5 Uncut Sheet of 6 notes, Ch#7038; a Nevada, 1929, First National Bank of Lovelock, Nevada, $10, T1, Ch#7654 rarity, and dozens of other outstanding U.S. Obsolete, Type and National notes from various collections and estates.

Foreign Banknotes include many desirable rarities such as an Australia, 1941, Camp Seven Bank Hay Internment Camp 2 Shillings note; a 1937 Bank of Canada, $100 Specimen graded PCGS 66 OPQ; a Chile, 1878-79 Banco Nacional de Chile Specimen Banknote Quartet, all extremely rare notes; a DWI, 1905 Proof $100 National Bank of the Danish West indies rarity; an amazing Irish Republic, 1866 Issued Uncut Sheet of 3 $5 Notes; Possibly the finest known, Germany, Imperial Treasury Note - Reichskassenschein 1906 Issued Banknote in AU 55 EPQ with no other notes listed in the PMG census as well as dozens of additional rare and desirable notes.

We are ending the first day with a significant offering 128 lots of rare China and Hong Kong Banknotes and Chinese Scripophily featuring a Hong Kong, Mercantile Bank of India, 1941, $5, Issue Banknote Rarity; a Sin Chun Bank of China, 1908, $10 high grade Private Banknote; a 1920, 10 Tael Specimen Commercial Bank of China Rarity and dozens of other rare and desirable Chinese banknotes. The first day end with Chinese scripophily highlighted by a Chinese Government 5% Gold Loan of 1912, Issued £1000 Bond.

The auction features hundreds of additional rare and desirable banknotes, coins, and scripophily in every price range, for the beginner to the advanced collector. Previews will be held at Archives International Auctions offices Wednesday to Friday, November 28, 29 and 30 from 10 AM to 5 PM and by appointment and on Monday, December 3rd at the Collectors Club located at 22 East 35th Street in New York City beginning at 9:30 am until 2:00 pm EST. For an appointment call 201-944-4800 or email

The Online catalog for the December 3rd and 4th sale is on Archives International Auctions’ website and can be viewed via the ArchivesLive bidding platform. It can also be viewed as a virtual catalog or downloadable .pdf on their website. To pre-register for live internet bidding, log on to the Archives International Auctions website, at

Archives International Auctions is currently seeking quality consignments for 2019 Winter and Spring auctions and is looking for U.S. and worldwide banknotes, coins, stocks, bonds, stamps, postal history, historic ephemera, autographs, and documents to buy outright. To sell or consign one piece or an entire collection, please call AIA at (201) 944-4800; or e-mail them at You can also view AIA’s weekly eBay offerings at their eBay ID ArchivesOnline.

You may also write to Archives International Auctions, at 1580 Lemoine Ave., Suite #7, Fort Lee, NJ 07024 U.S.A. To learn more about Archives International Auctions and the auctions planned for 2019, log on to

30% off select chapters of The Banknote Book in print

In response to customer demand, 26 of the largest chapters of The Banknote Book are now available in print.

The following chapters can now be ordered in print directly from or Amazon:

Dominican Republic
Northern Ireland

Prices range from US$24.99 to US$39.99, depending upon length, and all are professionally printed in full color on 80-pound glossy paper as perfect-bound paperback books.

Anyone purchasing from is entitled to a coupon code good for a free download of the PDF version of the chapter (US$9.99 value).

Use coupon code CYBERMONDAY30 when ordering on Lulu to get 15% off the list price for orders placed before midnight 3 December 2019.

Check Lulu's home page for discount codes on books and shipping.

Compare the catalogs: TBB vs SCWPM

 SCWPM 24th edition cover SCWPM 24
The 24th edition of Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money is now available, with only 100 new type listings, many of which aren’t illustrated, and none are in color.

Download this free document containing full listings from The Banknote Book for the new type notes added to the 24th edition of the SCWPM so that you can compare and contrast the two catalogs for yourself.

If you prefer the SCWPM, please support this site by buying the SCWPM 24th edition using this link.

If you want to increase your enjoyment and understanding of your hobby, subscribe to The Banknote Book.

IBNS opens voting for Banknote of 2017 award

Members of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS) have until 25 March 2018 to vote for the Banknote of 2017 award.

Free subscription to The E-Sylum numismatic newsletter

If you're not already on The E-Sylum mailing list, subscribe today. It's a free weekly newsletter edited by Wayne Homren for the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, though you don't have to be a member to subscribe. The newsletter goes out by email every Sunday night to over 3,000 numismatic bibliophiles, researchers, and collectors around the world. Topics are all over the numismatic map, and most people find something of interest each week. Banknotes are frequently a topic along with news on a wide spectrum of numismatics and numismatic personalities.

Back issues for 2017 can be found here.

Press release: Track & Price announces World Paper Money software upgrade

[Owen W. Linzmayer, editor: I'm happy to publish the following press release for Track & Price because The Banknote Book relies heavily on this unique service to provide timely, accurate, and inclusive pricing history based upon actual sales. Our editors interpret this information and distill it down to a snapshot of values listed in The Banknote Book, but Track & Price is the only place you can see the big picture.]

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.29.48 PM
Naples, FL- 22 November 2016
Track & Price, a one-of-a-kind collection of software tools, has released an updated software version of World Paper Money. Track & Price is used by paper money collectors, dealers, and auction houses globally to assess the value of paper money. This easy-to-use and highly accurate software helps even amateur collectors seamlessly maneuver through millions of auction results. Giving you complete control, Track & Price conveniently lets you search using your local language and currency, sorting the results by grade, note type, auction date, price, individual catalog number, and more!

Track & Price makes sense of huge price swings, with actual auction results, by using its sophisticated prorating algorithm. This software is the only constantly updated World Paper Money auction report! 500 to 2,000 real auction results are added daily from across the world. To date, Track & Price offers more than 1 million useful results. Don’t waste any more time searching through pricing catalogs that are consistently off by many orders of magnitude, both wildly underpriced and overpriced. Finally, there is no need to spend hours searching through the SCWPM as we make it easy for you to input the details of any given note for the most accurate pricing results.

Estimating the price of multiple note lots has also never been easier! 40-50% of auction lots consist of multiple notes. Track & Price breaks down these multiple note auction lots and prorates their relative values based on the final auction price, including the buyer premium. T&P allows you to effortlessly search specific parameters to get actual values, which eliminates estimating and guessing! You can also refine your searches by note variety (i.e. P1, P1a, or P1b, etc.).

Track & Price is a highly trusted tool used by auction houses throughout the world. The U.S. software is used by all the major auction companies and has been providing U.S. auction results and census data for auction houses, dealers, and collectors since 2001. World Paper Money is used by Archives International, The Banknote Book, Heritage, Lyn Knight Auctions, Spink, Stack’s Bowers, and other market leaders.

We invite you to try a free trial of Track & Price. Simply go to and select the software you would like to use for the next 30 days! Questions? Please call Sandy Bashover at (239) 384-9674 or write

Christoph Gärtner auction 35 takes place 19 October 2016 and is now online on Sixbid

(35)_Banknoten_B7-1 cropped
According to a press release, Christoph Gärtner auction 35 contains more than 3,000 banknote lots from all over the world, and all are now online on Sixbid.

Among them many rarities from Europe with rarely seen specimen banknotes including a comprehensive collection of Bulgaria will be offered.

"A special focus on banknotes from Russia and the Ukraine will be created by 1,400 different lots which will be offered as small collections and rare single notes. They start with the very early 18th century state issues, containing for example the very rare issue of 1,000-rubles 1895 P.A77, many specimen notes and nearly all issues of the “chervonetz”-series of the 1920s. The highlight of this section will be a prototype of a not issued project design of a 1-chervonets banknote from 1923. Furthermore a wide range of Russian regional and local issues will be auctioned, from North Russia to the far eastern regions – surely an exceptional collection of banknotes and an outstanding possibility to complete a collection.
But the auction will also show high value banknotes from Asia and Africa to complete this impressive offer of world banknotes which are waiting for your bids."

How to design beautiful banknotes

Check out this interesting DesignWeek article on "How to design beautiful banknotes."

Frank van Tiel collection to be auctioned by MPO on 29.01.2016

On 29 January 2016, MPO, the Dutch affiliate of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, will auction the Frank van Tiel collection of Dutch and world banknotes. Frank has been a long-time contributor to The Banknote Book, and this auction features many better notes, both old and modern. Check it out, and bid to win!

US$20 off subscriptions to The Banknote Book

I'll let you in on a little secret: I don't want people to buy individual chapters of The Banknote Book. I make them available only to provide an inexpensive introduction to the catalog, but my real goal is to grow the subscriber base.

If you collect the entire world or a large number of countries, buying a subscription is the best deal because it's much less expensive than buying chapters individually (224 chapters totaling US$1,592 as of January 2016), and it entitles you to every chapter currently available as well as everything published—or revised—during the term of your subscription, now available with several flexible new pricing options:


The most economical option is the annual subscription with automatic renewal, saving US$20 off both the initial subscription and any subsequent renewals which will be billed automatically until cancelled. A 6-month plan is also available for those who prefer an even lower initial payment.

I'm sorry, but auto renewal is not available when paying with PayPal.

World Paper Money author Albert Pick passed away 21.11.2015

I am saddened to report the death of Albert Pick, 93, on 21 November 2015 in a nursing home in Germany. Mr. Pick was the author of the original Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (SCWPM) in 1975, and is responsible for creating the eponymous numbering system still in use today. Banknote collectors to world over owe Mr. Pick an enornmous debt of gratitude for his seminal work in creating the first general issues catalog, an impressive feat made all the more remarkable when you consider he did so without the help of desktop publishing, email, and the Internet. Rest in peace.

Recommended reading: Money for everything

In the 3 October 2015 edition of The Economist, there's an interesting article "Money for everything" which asserts that "Despite many usurpers, cash is still king." Good news for banknote collectors!

Courtesy of Mark Irwin.

Recommended reading: The secret codes of British banknotes

Omron rings
The BBC has a very interesting article dated 25 June 2015 by Chris Baraniuk entitled "The secret codes of British banknotes," which discusses the so-called EURion Constellation (aka Omron rings) patterns' role in deterring digital counterfeiting.

Unmentioned in this article is that the simplest way to defeat this anti-counterfeiting feature is to use older scanners and photo editing software which do not interfere with the manipulation of banknote imagery. For example, Adobe Photoshop 3 will detect if you attempt to open a banknote image, but it will allow you to open, edit, and save same, but you can't print. With Photoshop 4, you're blocked from even viewing any image determined by the software to be a banknote.

Courtesy of Anthony Rodov and Christof Zellweger.

What Does It Take to Design a Banknote?

This article was reprinted from SPECIMEN Issue 4 with the permission of Innovia Security, maker of Guardian polymer substrate.

What Does It Take to Design a Banknote?

When it comes to designing a new banknote, aesthetics are just one aspect to be considered. The challenge goes well
beyond the initial concept — —it is to innovate and compose all the visual elements in perfect harmony while incorporating
a selection of complex security features. Banknote designer Carlos Almenar walks us through the process, which at times
can be a maze and requires thinking at multiple levels.

Carlos Almenar
Having worked across the banknote industry, Carlos Almenar knows what makes for a great design.

What is the role of concept design in today’s banknote industry?
A banknote designer is a person capable of interpreting the culture and identity of a nation, to then translate these semantic
concepts into the specic techniques required to build a banknote.

The banknote designer is also an architect who works with a team of specialists in the banknote industry. Their thoughts and reflections must focus on the designs, substrates, security features and printing techniques.

The banknote designer advises central banks regarding the architecture and manufacturing of a banknote – its aesthetics, colours, sizes, security features, substrates, etc. They guarantee that the banknote design will go beyond the aesthetic concept – as a true work of art, the design will be adapted to the complex techniques involved in banknote manufacturing.

In my opinion, today’s banknote designer must adapt and transform the design techniques and concepts to a new dimension of our presentand future.

Should it be a concept or an actual illustration of the fiŸnal note?
A banknote design or concept must be conceptualised with manufacturing in mind. The banknote designer sits between their central bank customer and the manufacturing industry. The design concepts that are created and presented to the central bank must correspond exactly to each step of the manufacturing process. For this reason, there must be fluid and open lines of communication between the banknote designer and all the key groups responsible for the security features.

How much detail should the concept contain?
The banknote designer must consider many di‘erent details, especially since a design cannot just be “beautiful”. The design must go beyond the aesthetic so it can become a truly functional feature that adapts perfectly to the expectations of the central bank. And above all, the banknote design must be fully compatible with the substrate manufacturing and printing techniques.

How much freedom is there to change the concept as the project progresses?
Freedom to introduce changes in a concept design will always be present, although the problem is not its freedom but the time it takes to complete these changes in the design. When a design project is at a late stage in its development and the need to change it arises, time plays a very important role. If the proposed changes are based on subjective reasons, work
can continue for hours on end and it may never reach any conclusions. However, if the reasons are objective and based on sound logic, apositive outcome can be reached in a short time.

How do you cater for the different expectations of various stakeholders?
For me it is important to listen to the div‘ergent views and opinions that participate in the design process towards the creation of a banknote, especially since banknotes are normally made using very complex systems and every note has its own identity and specific security codes. But the most important part is to listen and understand the needs of the central bank. Each country has its own economy and specic needs regarding cash management. It is very important to understand that banknotes are diff‘erent in each nation or issuing authority of circulating currency.

From abstract to concrete: Carlos Almenar’s interpretation of the invisible comes alive.

In your experience, are there many differences between designing a concept banknote in polymer versus designing for paper?
The basics of banknote design are simple; however today there is a diversity of substrate technologies propelling the evolution of design into more complex eff‘ects.

Paper substrates have existed for centuries and evolved, not in the raw materials, but in the development of watermarks, security threads and durability. Today there are other substrates such as polymer, and this specically has made banknote designs a lot more dynamic and complex due to its wide array of alternatives intransparency and opacity integrated in highly detailed security features and printing.

Today polymer has evolved in an incredible manner and the creation of a design has evolved accordingly. The security features and composition of the many design layers that form a polymer substrate inspire the designer to focus their activity in the synchronisation of polymer and the associated security features. But beyond this, all these elements must be adapted to the printing systems and therefore an integrated concept design can be achieved: substrate, design architecture, security features and printing. This enables the design to off‘er a variety of products adapted to new technologies that whilst highly-secure, pose greater challenges for would-be counterfeiters.

How do you deal with these differences yourself?
I have had the privilege of designing banknotes on both paper and polymer, which includes working at the Central Bank of Venezuela Print Works, Oberthur Fiduciaire, and now as Banknote Designer at Innovia Security. These experiences have enabled me to understand and appreciate the di‘fferences between the processes used to create a banknote in paper or polymer.

Currently, my work involves an increased use of technology and therefore I must integrate the concepts developed for the
substrate and interact in more detail with the experts in polymer substrate design, as well as with the scientists behind the complex security features. Personally, I think this harmony enables me to create true works of art using leading-edge technology.

This is my biggest challenge: to achieve distinct dimensions of eff‘ects, transparency and opacity
that can be understood by the central bank and accepted by the public. Users must be able to quickly authenticate the note, and banknote accepting machines must also be able to decode security features immediately.

Which country has the least sexist banknotes?

The BBC News has an interesting artlcle, "Which country has the least sexist banknotes?"

Courtesy of Mark Irwin and Jim Chen.

IBNS Banknote of 2014 voting is open through 29.03.2015

The International Bank Note Society would like to remind members that voting is now open for Banknote of 2014. Members may choose their top three notes from those depicted above. Voting is open until 23:59GMT Sunday 29th March. The result of the voting will be announced at the IBNS Board Meeting in Valkenburg in April 2015.

De La Rue reports declining profits and revenue on increased volume

According to a press release dated 25 November 2014, security printer De La Rue's profits fell 36%, to £18.1 million, in the six months ended 27 September, with revenue down by 8%, despite banknote printing volume up 4% to 2.7 billion notes. The company blamed “ongoing challenging market conditions” for ad­versely impacting financial performance.

Spink Books publishes new print edition of The Banknote Book

Greetings from Valkenburg, The Netherlands, site of the Paper Money Fair run by Jos Eijsermans, who brings together dealers and collectors from around the world two times a year for almost a full week of nothing but notes!

I am proud to announce that a new print edition of The Banknote Book made its debut in Valkenburg today. In the past, I have offered the catalog as a print-on-demand paperback book via, but this new catalog covering 203 countries is far superior, with durable hardcovers and high-quality coated stock interior pages, thanks to a new partnership with Spink Books, a division of the venerable London-based auction house.

Spink_catalogsThe Banknote Book at Spink table 2

I will continue to publish the catalog online with frequent revisions and new chapters as always, but from now on all print sales are handled by Spink Books. Individual copies of the three volumes may be ordered online, but anyone interested in purchasing books in quantity for resale must contact Spink Books for trade discounts.

The Numismatourist: The Only Worldwide Travel Guide to Museums, Mints, and Other Place of Interest for the Numismatist

The Numismatourist: The Only Worldwide Travel Guide to Museums, Mints, and Other Place of Interest for the Numismatist
Howard M. Berlin, 414 pages, soft cover, 6 x 9 inches, color illustrations, English, ISBN-13 978-1933990293, $29.95, (Order from

The Numismatourist is the first book of its kind as a world-wide travel guide for the numismatist. It is also for the numismatist who is traveling, either on vacation or business, and wishes to visit those places that of are interest to the hobby or profession. Inside you will find a numismatic travel guide, listing over 175 places in 75 countries open to the public, with almost 100 of these described in detail with pictures that are spread over North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Oceania-Pacific. The foreword is written by Karen M. Lee, Curator, National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.

Polymer Bank Notes of the World

Polymer Bank Notes of the World
Polymer Bank Notes of the World

Stane Straus, Donald Ludwig, Marian Meyer, and Tigerson, 144 pages, soft cover, 297 x 212 mm, color illustrations, English, ISBN 9789619365908, €20 (plus shipping),

Reviewed by Owen W. Linzmayer

Polymer Bank Notes of the World is the definitive guide to one of the hottest numismatic fields: non-paper notes, be they Tyvek, polymer, or hybrid (combinations of paper and polymer). The new 2014 edition uses larger format pages than the preceding 2012 edition, and has expanded from 122 pages to 144 pages, with coverage of an additional 285 entries of both issued and promotional/test notes (created by security printing firms to show off their prowess and new anti-counterfeiting features).

Each note is illustrated in color, front and back. Below the illustrations are descriptions with some historical background about the vignettes on the notes, as well as detailed variety listings, each assigned their own unique Straus number (for example: Australia S1R3a), along with cross-references to Pick and The Banknote Book catalog numbers. Pricing in euros is given for uncirculated notes, and lesser grades in the few cases where pristine notes aren't readily available.

The lines devoted to describing the variations are somewhat dense and deciphering the frequent abbreviations requires a bit of mental gymnastics, but as a fellow cataloger with an interest in collecting these notes, I appreciate the authors' attention to details, accuracy, and specificity. Also well received are all the footnotes below the variety listings which provide additional information about the notes, helping put them into context and enhancing their appeal.

If you're one of the many people with a penchant for polymer, this catalog belongs in your reference library (it's a bargain at only 20 euros), and the accompanying web site ( should be a frequent stop as you browse the web for the latest information.

De La Rue insider reveals insight into banknote design

The Financial Times has an interesting article dated 28 April 2014 in which Andy Sharman interviews Malcom Knight, "former research and development director and now consultant at De La Rue, the discreet British banknote maker that has designed more than 40 per cent of the paper currency to have entered global circulation in the past two years."

Courtesy of Jim "Rubycored" Chen.

Free samples of Banknotes of the World industry newsletter

Banknotes of the World
InterCrim Press (Moscow, Russia) publishes books and magazines of interest to banknote collectors, most notably Banknotes of the World, a 40-page monthly newsletter containing news and articles covering the currency industry and the banking community in Russia and abroad. While the editorial is geared towards currency industry insiders, collectors may also appreciate learning about the business side of banknote production and handling. Each issue devotes several pages to the security features of new notes, and there are counterfeit notices as well, plus a fair bit of information on coins, too.

An annual subscription to Banknotes of the World costs $300 for 12 PDF issues, or $360 for printed copies. InterCrim Press has generously agreed to allow BanknoteNews to distribute three back issues as a free download to provide a sample of what you can expect when you subscribe to the newsletter.

International Currency Grading adopts The Banknote Book catalog numbers

San Francisco - 21 February 2014 - International Currency Grading (ICG) is pleased to announce that they have begun printing The Banknote Book catalog numbers on ICG grading labels.


“As a new grading service focused exclusively on world paper money, we offer accurate grading that collectors demand and deserve. The precise and complete identification of the notes we grade is an important part of our service, and The Banknote Book is unequaled in accuracy, detail, and specificity,” said Jaime Sanz, a manager at ICG. “ICG staffers rely upon The Banknote Book as our primary reference source because its editor shares our curiosity, rigorous standards, and love of world paper money.”

According to Owen W. Linzmayer, editor of The Banknote Book, “ICG was looking for detailed, error-free and up-to-date information for their grading labels and I am honored that they have embraced The Banknote Book. When I began publishing my catalog three years ago, I never expected collectors and dealers to abandon the venerable Pick numbers for The Banknote Book numbers. ICG’s decision to print both on equal footing demonstrates they are bringing a progressive new approach to banknote grading services.”

If you would like to try ICG's grading service, use the coupon code TBB to receive a 30% discount.

For more information, contact:

Jaime Sanz
International Currency Grading
London, United Kingdom

Mehilba World Replacement specialized catalog now available

Mehilba World Replacement cover
It's my great pleasure to announce the availability of fellow numismatic author Dr. Ali Mehilba's long-awaited catalog, Mehliba World Replacement. As most of you know, The Banknote Book explains how to identify replacement notes, but being an omnibus catalog it can't go into great detail nor provide values for same. Anyone who wants the most definitive examination of this fascinating aspect of numismatics in encouraged to purchase Dr. Ali's specialized catalog. At almost 600 color pages, it's well worth the list price of US$65. Apply coupon code owen (all lowercase) in the shopping cart to receive a $5 discount, and be sure to ask for a personalized autograph during checkout.

Press release: Banknotes of the World 2011-2012

Banknotes of the World 2012
Reference book. Issue 10
In English and Russian.
30×21×3 cm
568 pages.

  • Actualized and carefully checked information on cash circulation of all countries and territories of the world on the end of 2012;
  • Regional geographic information for each state (location, chapter, currency, issuing bank, etc.);
  • Peculiarities of cash circulation in the country;
  • Currency notes of each state are grouped by categories: main circulation banknotes, banknotes, which are rare in circulation, but still maintain the status of legal tender; banknotes withdrawn from circulation: exchanged and cancelled;
  • Rules and procedures for the exchange and cancellation of banknotes withdrawn from circulation;
  • Description of security complex general circulation banknote series;
  • Color images of front and back of general circulation banknotes with indication of security features.

Besides, you may find background information on monetary and economic unions, glossary of terms of security features and simple and convenient search system and cross-references.

Price: 200 USD or 150 EUR

The edition is intended for financiers, economists, bank personnel, traders, experts, geographers, historians, university professors and students as well as general public interested in history and economy of the world countries.

The series “World Currencies: Currency Circulation Chronicle — XXI century” (10 volumes: 2001—2012) is recognized by authoritative among professional directory editions in the world and is recommended for practical use in financial institutions the International association of participants of the currency industry (IACA).

Phones: +7 (499) 267-30-63, 267-43-38, 267-46-34, 267-49-74, 267-51-28.
Fax: +7 (499) 267-42-34.
You can also order this book online at

19th Edition Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues Volume III now available

The 19th edition of Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money carries a list price of $70, but this 1,160-page black-and-white paperback without PDF version on CD-ROM can be ordered from Amazon for only $43.07 with free shipping. Of course, I’d prefer everyone purchase a subscription to my own catalog, The Banknote Book, but if you are going to buy the latest SCWPM, please order from Amazon so that earns a referral fee.

I had planned to write a new review of the 19th edition, but instead recommend you simply read my review of the 18th edition because every general criticism remains valid, and even the specific examples of errors cited in my previous review remain uncorrected.

In a nutshell, hundreds of new notes remain unlisted, some listed notes don't exist as described, values do not reflect the current market, many notes are not illustrated, signature tables necessary for distinguishing varieties are missing, descriptions are terse, and typographical and factual errors abound. Of the new issues actually incorporated into this new volume, major new types are sometimes incorrectly shoehorned into old listings as mere varieties, leading me to believe that Krause has reached the page limit for this volume and is taking shortcuts to avoid adding to the page count.

CoinWeek video of Maastricht 2012 banknote show

CoinWeek has posted an interesting video created by David Lisot, host and producer of CoinWeek video news service, during a recent trip to Europe attended the Maastricht Paper Money Fair held in Valkenburg Netherlands.

David interviewed many of the participants at the show finding out what collectors have in common with their counterparts in the United States. He addressed the economic situation in Europe and whether the hobby has been affected by the downturn in the workplace and the debt crisis affecting so many countries. He also shows examples of the some of the more popular bank notes collectors are buying.

Courtesy of Aidan Work.

Wanted: Contact info for numismatic publications

I am trying to compile a list of printed numismatic publications which cover banknotes. I know of a few of the major ones in the United States, but am not familiar with international magazines or newsletters.

If you subscribe to such a publication, whether in English or another language, please send me the precise name of the publication, as well as URL, email address, and postal address.

Click here to write to me using the Contact form.

Thanks in advance for everyone's assistance. I'll post the results on a new page in the Links section of this site.

Press release: InterCrim-Press announced Currencies of the World online directory

InterCrim-Press is pleased to introduce its new product, “Currencies of the World: Cash Circulation. Analysis. Counterfeiting,” a unique digital resource providing up-to-date information on 182 currencies of more than 250 countries and territories of the world.

The directory is a useful tool for bank employees, security experts of bank financial institutions, law enforcement, customs officials, organizations and businesses of the world currency industry.

The directory consists of three constantly updating modules: "Catalogue of Currencies", "NEWS: Up-to-date information about changes in the currency of the world", and "Counterfeits".

  • Module “Catalogue of Currencies" has descriptions of 182 currencies of the world (notes of the main treatment; notes, which are rarely found in circulation, but retained the status of legal tender; notes, which are derived from the circulation: exchanged and canceled; glossary of terms (a full list of terms and concepts with a description of protective elements used in banknote production).

  • Module “NEWS” promptly informs about all changes in circulation of the banknotes of the world and provides links to the relevant section of the module "Catalogue of Currencies."

  • Module "Counterfeits" contains basic information about counterfeit banknotes, revealed by the law-enforcement agencies in the Russian Federation and CIS countries. Information includes a detailed description of the main signs of counterfeits with the demonstration of fragments (fragments illustrated with simulations of protective elements on the counterfeit banknotes and comparative analysis with similar fragments in genuine banknotes) and of more than 900 varieties of counterfeit banknotes of the following items: rubles of The Bank of Russia, The U.S. dollars, EU euro, GBP of The Bank of England, The Bank of Canada's dollars, francs of The Swiss, People's Bank of China Yuan, the hryvnia of Ukraine, etc.

Each module contains characterization of the protective features of a complex series, high-quality full-color front and back images with the public, and machine-readable security features (images in the UV and IR spectra, magnetic protection), information about the composition of banknote substrate (paper, polymer, composite), printing methods, the date of entry banknotes in circulation, exchange rates.

Try the demo version of the product at

Book Review: World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote

World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote
World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote
K. N. Boon, 154 pages, soft cover, 297 x 210 mm, color illustrations, Chinese and English, ISBN 978-983-43313-4-4, US$15,

K. N. Boon's recently published book, World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote, is the first catalog devoted entirely to collectors of uncut sheets of notes, and as such it fills an interesting gap in the numismatic field of knowledge.

I had hoped to learn more about how and why uncut sheets are sold to collectors, mailing/storage/display options, deciphering plate and block nubmers, etc. Unfortunately, aside from a few pages of introductory text, there's not much prose in this book, the bulk of which is devoted to depictions of the banknote sheets along with brief descriptions and variety listings. The text is written primarily in English, with some material also in Chinese. For the most part, the English is serviceable, in spite of some typos and awkward phrases.

The banknote listings are segregated by substrate, with paper-based notes appearing first, followed by polymer-based notes at the end of the catalog. I would prefer to see all of the notes of a particular country listed together, but collectors who specialize in polymer issues may appreciate having these notes broken out into their own section.

Within the paper and polymer sections, the listings are organized alphabetically by country, then grouped by denominations (smallest to largest), each in chronological order. Unique note types are assigned their own KNB numbers, with lowercase variety letters appended to distinguish between sheets with different attributes. For example, KNB4a may refer to an uncut block of 4 notes, whereas KNB4b refers to a full uncut sheet of 45 notes. Alas, there are no cross-references to other catalog numbers of the underlying notes.

In most cases, blocks (mini-sheets) or full sheets of notes are illustrated, except when the author wasn't able to obtain such images. In those cases, an individual note is shown instead. I actually prefer this latter presentation because the note's design details can be seen, which is not the case when the sheets are reproduced greatly reduced in size. I hope the second edition of this book will include larger illustrations of the front and back of individual notes to each listing for the best of both worlds. Another improvement would be expanded descriptions of the notes. Many notes lack any descriptions at all, and for those that are described, the text is terse and typically applies only to the front; usually the backs are ignored altogether.

Each listing has columns for Date of Issue, Quantity Issued, Issued Price, and Market Price, with the last two values shown in Chinese yuan (RMB). Market prices are given for almost all listings, but in many cases the other columns are left blank. Hopefully further research will result in this information being added in future editions.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers cut notes from sheets in an attempt to create "errors" or rare prefix varieties which are then foisted upon unsuspecting buyers. To the author's credit, some listings include warnings about this practice, and some listings also indicate the prefixes found on the sheets, but it's unclear if these prefixes are exclusive to sheets. More detailed prefix information might allow for the easy identification of such doctored notes.

World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote is an excellent first attempt to systematically document an area of collecting that has heretofore been largely ignored by other catalogs. Collectors of banknote sheets will most definitely appreciate having this handsome, professionally printed, full-color volume in their reference library.

Check out other book reviews and news on the Books page of this site.

Krause publishes SCWPM: General Issues Volume II, 13th Edition

Krause Publications has released a new 13th edition of the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues, 1368-1960. I haven’t gotten a copy yet, but according to the press release, key features of the book include:

• 25,100 bank note varieties with current values in three condition grades.
• Enhanced note and color descriptions, allowing users to quickly identify varieties.
• More than 8,000 quality photographs to assist with identification.
• Historical details, grading definitions and numeral charts.

Like it or not, the SCWPM remains "the bible" for our hobby because its Pick numbers are almost universally used to identify notes. If you intend to get a copy despite its flaws, please support this site by buying the latest edition using this link.

Check out other book reviews and news on the Books page of this site.

Book Review: World Paper Money Errors

World Paper Money Errors by Morland C. Fischer (Order from
250 pages, soft cover, 230 x 150 mm, color illustrations, English, published by Zyrus Press Publishing, ISBN 978-1-933990-25-5

Reviewed by Owen W. Linzmayer

While there are several catalogs covering United States paper money errors, this book is the first attempt at a systematic approach to describing, documenting, and pricing errors on world banknotes. As such, it’s an important new addition to the world’s numismatics knowledge base, but it suffers from some shortcomings I hope will be addressed in future editions.

Author Morland C. Fischer does a very good job of explaining the various types of errors found on banknotes and has distilled them down to an eight-point FEN (Foreign Error Note) ranking system in which higher numbers correspond to more significant errors. Reasonable people might disagree over whether a missing overprint is more dramatic an error than an inverted back (FEN 4 and 7, respectively), but the codification of the taxonomy of errors is a welcome improvement to a subjective field of study.

The bulk of the book is devoted to illustrating the various error types, each broken into their own chapters. I found the introductory explanations of how specific types of errors happen in the production process particularly interesting. The book has color illustrations throughout, usually with the front and back of the error note at 50% actual size, along with a non-error note for comparison. This allows you to see the magnitude of the error and appreciate the artwork and intended design of the reference note, although some illustrations would have benefited by close-ups or annotations to highlight the affected areas of the note. There are lots of examples from many different countries and time periods, which is good overall, but it’s overkill for some types of errors, such as missing serial numbers, which are easy to understand without repetitive illustrations.

Personally, I would have liked to see more plate errors—also known as engraving errors—because I find man-made errors more intriguing than machine mistakes. As a writer and editor myself, I’m amused by the fact that central banks sometimes fail to catch embarrassing typos until after printing and issuing millions of notes into circulation. Alas, there are only a dozen such errors discussed. Entirely lacking are any examples of errors in security features, such as when a thread intended for one note appears in another, or the wrong watermark is used.

Anyone who has contemplated buying an error note will do well to first read the chapter on “pseudo” errors. At first glance these appear to be errors, but may have been intentionally created by unscrupulous collectors/dealers by miscutting individual notes from sheets or using chemicals to alter notes, for example. Sometimes they aren’t errors at all, but rather printers’ waste, proof notes, or remainders. Buyer beware.

Ironically, the author is not immune to making errors of his own. For example, he mistakes the front and back of Ukraine’s 20-hryvan note of 1992 (Pick 107), includes a 1,000-shilling fantasy note from Somaliland without mentioning its dubious origin, and the last few pages of the book are incorrectly set in fonts of varying size, resulting in a jumbled appearance. However these are all minor quibbles; for the most part the content is solid and unassailable.

My main complaint with this book is that author tries too hard to make the case that world error notes are undervalued. He provides a number of possible explanations for the disparity in prices between comparable errors on US and foreign notes, yet ignores what might be the most obvious explanation of all: differences in the values of the corresponding non-error notes. For example, he laments that a foldover error on a United States 10-dollar note dated 1969C (Pick 451d) is worth $1,000 - 2,000 whereas a similar printing error on a Mexican 500-peso note (Pick 69) is valued at $200 - 300. But when you consider that the SCWPM lists non-error examples of the former at four times the value of the latter, the price disparity between the errors doesn’t seem so significant nor unwarranted.

Judging by the passion with which he approaches his subject, it is apparent that the author loves error notes, but his insistence that world error notes are “undervalued,” with “considerable upside potential,” and “could be ready to explode,” comes across as a hard sell by someone with an agenda. I found cause for pause when reading “In some instances, a price may appear to be unusually high. However, prices were chosen to indicate what should be [emphasis mine] the fair market value…Moreover, the assigned price ranges reflect an extrapolation of expected prices over a period of five years from publication.” Pricing non-error world notes is fraught with difficulties (fluctuations in currency exchange rates and differences in foreign/domestic demand for a country’s own notes, for example) which are only compounded when considering far less common—sometimes even unique—error notes and trying to guess what they should be worth far into the future. The book would have greater credibility if it merely reported current free market prices and suggested reasonable premiums a collector might expect to pay for different types of errors.

World Paper Money Errors carries a list price of US$34.95 and can be ordered directly from Zyrus Press Publishing, P.O. Box 17810, Irvine, CA 92623. (888) 622-7823. or purchased from Amazon at a significant discount.

New edition of Standard Catalog of World Paper Money now shipping

The 16th edition of Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money is now shipping. I just received my copy and wanted to share my initial impressions.

At 1,112 black and white pages, it's exactly as large as the previous edition, though its list price is now $60 instead of $55, and it does not come with a disc containing a PDF version of the catalog, which is a great disappointment.

Also somewhat disappointing is that values for VG conditions have been eliminated. Now only VF and UNC conditions are listed. While some will decry this change, I think it’s a reasonable change because most modern notes collectors insist on UNC anyway.

More troublesome is that this edition continues the trend of covering only a fraction of the new note types and varieties that have been issued in the past years, and illustrating almost none of them. It appears that the cut-off for inclusion in this catalog was mid-2009, but many, many notes issued well before then failed to make it into print (The Banknote Update contains over 80 pages of images and info missing from the 16th edition of the SCWPM).

In an attempt to appear more current than it really is, the catalog has assigned Pick numbers to a lot of "expected issues." The problem with this practice is that many such notes are never released, inevitably forcing the editors to renumber at a future date, much to the frustration of collectors and dealers everywhere (my cursory examination uncovered a half dozen notes that have been renumbered or deleted between editions). Furthermore, the information (such as dates) in the listings for these expected issues often proves wrong, adding to the general confusion.

Speaking of frustrating and confusing, some listings refer to non-existent signature charts, or the signature chart exists, but hasn’t been updated to include the latest signatures, making it impossible to distinguish between varieties.

I haven't done a thorough check of the entire catalog, but a spot check revealed some obvious pricing problems, such as listing Armenia's 100,000-dram note at $250 in UNC, even though its face value is $263. The 50,000-won from South Korea, featured on the cover of the new edition, is worth $40 at face, but is listed at $50 in UNC. Good luck finding dealers selling notes with negative or nominal mark-ups.

Like it or not, the SCWPM remains "the bible" for our hobby because its Pick numbers are almost universally used to identify notes. If you intend to get a copy despite its flaws, please support this site by buying the latest edition using this link.

Compare the catalogs: TBB vs SCWPM

 SCWPM 25th edition cover SCWPM25
The 25th edition of Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money is now available, with only 88 new type listings, 20 of which aren’t illustrated, and none are in color.

Download this free document containing full listings from The Banknote Book for the new type notes added to the 25th edition of the SCWPM so that you can compare and contrast the two catalogs for yourself.

If you prefer the SCWPM, please support this site by buying the SCWPM 25th edition using this link.

If you want to increase your enjoyment and understanding of your hobby, subscribe to The Banknote Book.